Sunday, February 18, 2007

All the Christian Conservatives who maintain that United States of America was founded by Christians as a Christian nation, and that their original intent was later corrupted by secular humanists, would do well to read Christian Theocrat Gary North's Conspiracy in Philadelphia: Origins of the United States Constitution. North's book, which I must admit I have only glanced through at this point, argues precisely that this country was not founded as a Christian nation, and that, in North's view, is the problem.

Ultimately North's argument is with the founding fathers and their constitution and, indeed with the values of the Enlightenment and the liberal democratic tradition. He correctly sees the founding fathers as his enemy.

Why were the pamphlet debates of 1787–88 conducted in terms of Roman historical examples and not biblical historical examples? Why was there never any appeal to specific biblical laws, but endless appeals to natural laws? Why were the symbols adopted by the Continental Congress, the Convention, and the post-war nation systematically non-Christian? Why, if the Constitution is Christian, is the name of Jesus Christ missing?

There is only one sensible answer: the U.S. Constitution is not
Christian. But Christians resist this answer. They want to blame later generations of politicians for the decline of Christian political influence. They want to share in the glory of the Convention. This is a strategic mistake, and it is surely an historiographical mistake.


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